Since the birth of baby Reuben Boyd Harris in Emmerdale a huge amount has changed for his parents Chloe Harris (Jessie Elland) and Mackenzie Boyd (Lawrence Robb).
For Mackenzie, recently married to Charity Dingle (Emma Atkins), it’s seen his marriage go up in flames after Charity realised that he was the father of the baby and he’d been lying to her for months. While Mackenzie is devastated at the loss of Charity, he’s developing a new bond with his baby son.
For Chloe there’s been the profound change of being a mother, which was accelerated when Reuben was dangerously ill in hospital. Chloe refused to leave her son’s side until she knew he was going to be ok. Jessie Elland told us that this brought out a toughness that was already present in her character.
‘I think she’s used to getting her own way, she was maybe a bit spoilt when she was younger. I think being a mum has really brought that fight out in her and put it front and centre,’ she said.
As Mackenzie gets more involved in Reuben’s life, he and Chloe start drawing closer together, as Jessie explained.
‘Their outcast status puts them in the same boat. It’s such a horrible situation and they’re the only ones who perfectly understand and sympathise with each other’s situation, because they don’t get a lot of sympathy from other people. Also they’re united in their love for Reuben.’
It’s not long before Chloe realises she has feelings for her baby’s father and Jessie told us what happens next.
‘They’ve just come back from the hospital from a check up to make sure everything’s ok with Reuben, which has been the source of a lot of anxiety to Chloe because they’re going to find out whether the meningitis is going to have any lasting effects. They’ve found out everything is ok and there’s a massive sense of relief and unity.
‘We have a really lovely scene where they’re trapped in a car because Reuben’s asleep and they don’t want to get out and wake him. We really see Chloe and Mackenzie, the burgeoning start of their chemistry. It’s after this scene, as they’re saying goodbye that Chloe, kind of emboldened by how well they’re getting on, leans in for the kiss.’
Mackenzie rejects her at this point, which is where the ‘fight’ that Jessie spoke of earlier really kicks in.
‘What I really like about Chloe is that she owns it and she says I did that because we had a really nice day together, I like you and I wanted to explore these feelings I’ve discovered I have for you,’
the actress explained. ‘So although there’s initially embarrassment she doesn’t have regrets. She has this confidence to say “I did it because I like you.”’
Jessie told us that Chloe is not going to give up on the possibility of a relationship with Mackenzie and the driving force for this is security for herself and her baby.
‘Deep down she has yearned for this family unit. Especially with everything that’s happened in her past with her family and her sister and her dad and then coming to the village and having that ripped from underneath her when she found out that Kerry (Laura Norton) was her mum, then having that new family and that being taken away from her…She’s desperate to have some kind of family grounding. Having the three of them as a little unit, that would be a dream for her.’
While her sister Amy Wyatt (Natalie Ann Jamieson) advises her not to go after Mackenzie, because of how Charity and the other Dingles are likely to react, Jessie told us that it’s the ‘Wyatt’ in her own character that makes Chloe ignore the advice.
‘Chloe being Chloe she wants to fight for what’s right for her and right for Reuben,’ she insisted. ‘I think she does have a streak of stubbornness which is probably like a Wyatt trait – if somebody tells you don’t do it it’s like, well why not? I want to do it now!
‘I do think there’s almost an element of ruthlessness, for want of a better word, that being a mum has brought out. She’s putting Reuben and the kind of family she wants for Reuben and the stability she wants for Reuben over the guilt she feels for Charity.’
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